a story about the brolga

The book sprinting on quicksand includes a poem about the Australian crane known as the brolga. Well, really it’s about the near extermination of the brolga in the Riverina, New South Wales, and it concludes:

until I see the brolga dancing

I swear

I’ll write no poem about the crane

More than one of my critics/readers have contested that last line, they say, “Well, you have” and I say, no, I’ve written about their absence.

Those of you who know Wagga will know the Wollundry lagoon, one of many billabongs along the Murrumbidgee River that rise and fall / fill and empty according to floods and water flows. Mary Gilmore talks about the Eunonyhareenyha waters in her book Old Days, Old Ways (1934). The original Wiradjuri name for the Wollundry lagoon was Walangduray, according to https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/AboriginalPlaces/

Now in Sydney’s inner west, in Covid lockdown, condemned to endlessly walking the local streets, I saw a mural high on a house the other day and had to get closer, muttering, they look like brolga. And so they were, two brolga dancing!

You can listen to the poem here.

brolga dancing